Are Tenants Fear Justified?

A third of tenants have been evicted or threatened with eviction after complaining to their landlord, according to new research.

A survey carried out by online tenant community The Tenants’ Voice found that 61% of tenants are wary about complaining to their landlords and 71% of tenants have paid for repairs themselves rather than ask their landlords.

The survey suggests that a growing number of tenants are falling victim to “retaliatory evictions”, where landlords use a section 21 notice to end a tenancy rather than undertake repairs requested, often in the hope that a new tenant won’t complain.

The survey of UK tenants carried out by The Tenants’ Voice found that renters are worried about asking their landlords to carry out repairs in fear of what the fallout might be. Seven in ten (71%) tenants have paid for repairs to a rental property out of their own pocket rather than report the problem to their landlords. And six in ten (61%) tenants polled said they had asked their landlords in the past to make repairs and that the landlords had been difficult or flatly refused to sort the problem out.

Just under two-thirds (63%) of tenants admitted they were wary about approaching their landlords because they were worried about what their reaction might be. As a result, more than half (55%) of renters admit they are living with an ongoing issue they’d like resolved, but prefer to live with the problem rather than ask their landlords to sort it out.

When it comes to the types of complaints made by tenants to their landlords, top of the list were problems associated with damp, with 58% of tenants having a damp-related issue. More than half (54%) of tenants made complaints to their landlords about the general state of disrepair of the property, while boiler repairs (36%), electrical issues (32%), and exterior and garden issues (19%) were also common complaints.

With lots of tenants fearful of talking to their landlord about a problem, unsurprisingly, 61% of tenants would prefer to talk to the letting agent that they found the property through, rather than speaking directly to the landlord.

Glenn Nickols, director of The Tenants’ Voice, said: “While 86% of tenants have never heard of retaliatory evictions according to our poll, a third of the tenants we surveyed who have been evicted or threatened with eviction have actually fallen foul of this practice.

“Landlords have a responsibility to ensure that the property they are renting is fit for purpose, and that means ensuring that any reasonable requests that are made by their tenants are dealt with promptly.

“Tenants need to feel comfortable about approaching their landlord about any issues that arise. Suffering in silence because they’re worried about what their landlords might say could have potentially devastating consequences.

“It’s clear more needs to be done to educate both landlords and tenants about their responsibilities and rights to ensure a healthy tenant-landlord relationship.”

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